Site Permissions Breaking Good

BreakingGoodIn my earlier posts, so nicely combined by Veronique Palmer, I tried to visualize how SharePoint permissions work, and show and tell you what can go wrong when you break permissions. So how can you, as a site owner, prevent issues with site permissions?

Do not break permissions if there is no real need

  • Stick to default permissions (= the same permissions throughout your site) where possible.
  • Challenge any request to break permissions within your site. Your manager may ask the question, but (s)he may not realize what the consequences are: extra work for you, in maintaining an extra set of permissions, and coming to the rescue when someone has been locked out. And if they do not mind your extra work, but it still does not make sense to you to deviate from default,  ask them to read an earlier post: Frankly my dear, they’re just not that into your content.
  • If you do not know how permissions work, or you do not feel comfortable with it, stick to default. Perhaps a subsite for this content is a better option.

If you break permissions, take these precautions

  • Use and re-use groups where possible. It saves time in maintenance, and will give fewer errors than adding people as individuals. This picture may remind you why:
Adding an indivudal to a site with broken permissions.
When you add an individual or group to the site, they do not automaticaly get access to all content. Permissions have been broken.
  • Always add a description to your library or list as a reminder that the permissions are different. Just mentioning the fact is enough, but you can also specify who has access.
    I have also seen an * behind the library name, but that will only work if your team knows what this means.
Document Library with permissions details in description
Document Library with permissions details in description
  • If you have many broken permissions in your site, document the setup and store this in your site. You may think you will remember, but the reality is that you will quickly forget. This format would work:
This is a good way to remember (and hand over) the permissions for your site.
This is a good way to remember (and hand over) the permissions for your site.

Do you have any tips to share on how to avoid problems with permissions?

Image courtesy of Kamnuan /


3 thoughts on “Site Permissions Breaking Good

  1. Andre March 6, 2014 / 8:50 am

    Before you start with any site collection, write a governanceplan with an organogram and explain how permissions are setup and why. Always add a supporting excel sheet with spgroups as you have shown.
    Check the Excel sheet every quarter with the actual situation and update the sheet. We provide all our solutions including the governance plan

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